Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crash Claims Ozone Park Man by Ivan Pereira - New York Post

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A fatal accident on an Ozone Park street early Sunday morning sent residents into shock as they raced to try to save the man who was hit by a luxury car.

Donald Bryan was dropped off by a cab near his home around 85th Street and Sutter Avenue around midnight when he was struck by a 2008 Lexus that was being driven westbound on Sutter by a unidentified 18-year-old, police said.

The 32-year-old, who worked at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as a security guard, was flipped in the air, then hit the back window and landed on the street while the car crashed into the gate of Mokom Sholom Cemetery on Sutter Avenue and 84th Street, according to eyewitnesses.

Bryan was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital less than an hour later due to brunt trauma to his lower body, police and the city's medical examiner said.

"Quite a lot of people were coming out with towels," said Kevin Wickers, 47, one of several nearby residents who ran to help when they heard the accident. "He was bleeding all over the place."

The teen driver, who was with two other passengers, stayed at the scene of the accident and had not been arrested or charged as of press time Tuesday, the police and Queens district attorney's office said. It was not known whether he was speeding, although Wickers and other neighbors said they heard the car go fast.

"They weren't hurt, they were more shook up," Wickers said of the car's occupants.

Wickers and several other neighbors said a cab was dropping off Bryan from Manhattan after he finished work that night. Christopher Gianni, who stayed with the victim until first responders arrived, said he saw the cab drive off after the accident.

Gianni, who spent 20 years with the U.S. Navy and currently works with the U.S. Coast Guard as a civilian, said he tried to administer first aid to Bryan.

"He asked, 'What happened?' and I told him, 'You were just hit by a car,'" Gianni recalled.

Friends of the security guard set up a makeshift memorial at the edge of the cemetery where he was hit. In addition to flowers and a candle, the memorial included a picture of Bryan, posing casually in a black T-shirt.

Several neighbors said the road in the area, which borders Tudor Village, has had problems with speeding drivers over the years. Several drivers have caused minor accidents and near-misses due to their excessive driving, according to Wickers.

"They come off flying off the Conduit," he said.

Gianni said he and several neighbors have complained to the city about the dangerous road and said the fatal accident could spur someone to come up with a way to curb speeders. He suggested a flashing yellow light to slow down drivers.

"I hope after this they could do something with the street," Gianni said.